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Ward County Fair

9/12/2016:

On this date in 1922, the Ward County Fair opened its gates, and over the next four days, the populace poured in.

The Ward County Independent wrote glowing responses to the fair, stating that it was "an unqualified success from every standpoint. It is very much better than anyone anticipated it could possibly be, considering the fact that three short months ago, the grounds upon which it is located, was a field of waving rye." The paper continued to state that if you had missed the Ward County Fair, "you have missed the greatest show of its kind ever held in northwestern North Dakota."

It was on the small side, with room to grow over the next few years. Buildings, driveways, and all kinds of exhibitions dotted the 80-acre tract. Minot musicians provided music for various vaudeville acts and also just for general entertainment. Chester Jacobson, known as "Dare Devil Jacobson," gave an airplane exhibit, where he climbed nearly a mile into the sky, and then showed off "all of the turns and spins known to aviation," after which he raced a car (and won). Animal and plant exhibitions were numerous, and prizes were available for many entrants.

Governor Nestos, who had built his career in Minot, delivered the opening address that afternoon. His speech spoke highly of the accomplishments of the people, and the value of the fair, now and in future iterations. He said "I have the confidence that you who have accomplished so much in a few months will make this one of the greatest fairs in the State of North Dakota - not necessarily the largest nor the most expensive. That is not the real measure of its true greatness. The real measure of the value of any fair is its inspirational and educational influences in making our men and women, our boys and girls better farmers, and thereby creating more satisfactory economic conditions, and the assurance of a permanent prosperity for the territory served by the fair”

Dakota Datebook by Sarah Walker